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Employment and Retirement

Kene Henkens from the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute presented his research on employers' attitudes and actions toward older workers across Europe. His paper was based on a large scale survey of employers in different EU countries. His key findings were that ageist stereotypes remain prevalent across countries; employers often assume older people are weak in 'hard skills' that they prize highly; and employers recognise that people will need to work longer in future but are less keen to recognise that their workforces will age.

Vanessa Beck discussed employers' use of older workers in the recession in the UK, and considered why older people have been less badly affected than in previous recessions. Dianne Bown-Wilson discussed the complexity of motivations influencing employment of managers in the UK. Helen Barnes discussed UK employers' attitudes to offering flexible retirement options that would benefit older workers. Finally, Ben Baumberg discussed the influence of health on employment in older age, and how this is mediated by the type of job being done and the working conditions.

Paper discussants were Chris Ball (The Age and Employment Network), John Sharman (UK Equality and Human Rights Commission), Tony Maltby (Universities of Sheffield and Leicester) and Phil White (University of Edinburgh).

We had approximately 50 participants. This included representation from public policy officials (the Department for Work and Pensions, Redesigning Retirement Division); the Equality and Human Rights Commission; NGOs (The Age and Employment Network and In My Prime); institutes concerned with retirement issues (the Life Academy and the Pensions Policy Institute); and early career and established researchers.

Manchester Metropolitan University
Organised in conjunction with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission

4th November 2011

The seminar brought together academics, practitioners and policy makers to explore:

  • The factors influencing employment in older age in Europe
  • The consequences of changes in employment regulation for the future of retirement
  • The extent to which changes are mirrored across countries



Helen Barnes
Independent Researcher
Employer attitudes to managing ageing and flexible retirement options
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Ben Baumberg
University of Kent
Contradictions in the desire to work past pension age.
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Dianne Bown-Wilson
Cranfield University
Motivation for career progression in older workers
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Vanessa Beck
University of Leicester
Employers' use of older workers in the recession
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Kene Henkens
Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute
Employers' attitudes and actions toward older workers across Europe
Download slides (PDF format)

Tony Maltby
Universities of Sheffield and Leicester
Response to Dianne Bown-Wilson and Ben Baumberg
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Copyright University of Brighton 2011 | Design by Francis Greenaway